An elephant (typically male) succeeding in placing his forelegs on the back of another elephant. Mounting occurs in Courtship and Playful contexts. Mounting of an estrous female may be successful (intromission and ejaculation occur) or unsuccessful. A successful Mounting is termed a Mating and largely depends on the female Standing-to-Mate rather than moving forward.

Mounting during Social Play is commonly observed. Among infants and calves males may Mount other female or male infants or calves. Often calves lie down in a heap while others (males) Climb-Upon them in behavior akin to Mounting. Among juveniles, adolescents and young adults, males typically Mount other males. The penis is sometimes rubbed rapidly, using its own muscle-power, up and down between the other male's back legs. Ejaculation sometimes occurs. Adolescent females have been observed attempting to Mount the calves they are allomothering. In addition, elephants are observed to Mount dead elephants, possibly in an attempt to rouse them (see Mount-Body). Mounting in all except the allomothering context appears to be a male activity and the Mounting individual typically has an erection.

References: Douglas-Hamilton 1972: 122, 125 photo; Poole 1982: 175, 182, illustration 7.1; Moss 1983; Moss 1988; Lee 1986; Poole 1989b; Poole 1996: 98, illustration; Payne 1998 83; Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2004; Poole 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Birth, Calf Reassurance & Protection, Courtship, Social Play


Context: Courtship (1)

Nastya is in estrus and has been Guarded on and off by a large adult male as well as Pascal in musth. Pascal took over from the other male, but then decided she wasn't in peak estrus and so is not particularly interested. This has left Nastya open to attempts by all sorts of younger males.

As this clip starts she is surrounded by three males and one Chases her. As she Runs-Away we hear her give an Estrous-Roar and we hear her family responding with Rumbling. He Reaches-Over and attempts to Mount her but she keeps moving and he is unsuccessful. He makes another attempt but is unsuccessful She Runs-Away gives another Estrous-Roar. He tries to Mount her again but she is moving and Kicks-Back at him. Meanwhile I say that the previous Guarding male is coming. He manages to Mount her as she continues to Roar. At our distance it is not possible to say whether he is successful. The Guarding male arrives and he dismounts. I say that Pascal Listens but is not interested. (Amboseli, Kenya)


Context: Courtship (2)

Esau Chases Nastya and tries to Mount her several times. The last time may have been successful, but we are so far away and the grass so long that it is hard to tell. While Mounted Esau moves a lot which suggests that Nastya was not holding still. After they continue to move, which suggests that it may not have been successful. (Amboseli, Kenya)